Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
A FUMING ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa yesterday questioned the nation’s sincerity to helping the Warriors and the Mighty Warriors write success stories on the international football scene after the senior women national team were left penniless from their African Women Cup of Nations qualifier against Tanzania at Rufaro.
The Harare property mogul was left seething after ZIFA reaped nothing from gate receipts from staging the match between the Mighty Warriors and their Tanzanian counterparts on Sunday.
Chiyangwa had promised the Mighty Warriors, who triumphed 3-2 on aggregate to reach the final qualifying round, to share the gate receipts in appreciation for the team’s success as they booked an elimination date against neighbours Zambia.
What incensed Chiyangwa even more was that the money that was raised from gate-takings at Rufaro on Sunday was parcelled out at the stadium among various service providers while the Mighty Warriors, the team which brought the fans to the ground, ended up with nothing.
The Sports Commission took their 15 percent stake from the gate receipts while Harare City Council took 20 percent of gross gate-takings with some of the money being paid to service providers. Chiyangwa said he found it ironic that the Sports Commission should be taking a chunk from the gate receipts, while the Mighty Warriors walk away with nothing, when the Government was not funding the team’s quest to qualify for the African Women Cup of Nations finals.
Even the Harare City Council, said Chiyangwa, needed to understand that, when it comes to a national cause, they had to be seen to be playing a part in helping the Mighty Warriors or the Warriors rather than feasting on the little that was being raised from the gate-takings.
The ZIFA boss was also not amused that some security personnel were also paid, while the Mighty Warriors walked away with nothing, and he said a ZIFA councillor, who also received payment, should have led by example by showing that he was not in the game to make money but to develop the sport. “I’m furious, very furious with what happened at Rufaro Stadium on Sunday and if this is the way that we are going to run our football then it’s pointless, it doesn’t promote growth and only serves to destroy the game, the goose that is laying the golden eggs,” Chiyangwa said.
“When you have people and organisations feasting on the gate-takings, with the money being shared at the stadium, and the players themselves — who are the stars who brought the people who paid that money to the stadium — end up with nothing, then we should be questioning ourselves whether this is worth it after all.
“We promised the players that they will get all the gate-takings and suddenly today I am being told that nothing was left for them because the money went to the City Council, some of it went to the Sports Commission and even our own ZIFA councillor was paid while our girls, who did the nation proud by qualifying for the next round, received nothing.
“This is just not right and I will not allow it because some of us suffer a lot, just to make sure that the team is put in camp, the team is fed in camp, the team is provided with the right equipment to represent our nation, remember we are not getting any help right now from the Government in terms of this campaign by the Mighty Warriors, and the team flies to Tanzania to represent our country.
“Now, when they come back home, and there is a chance that there could be some income that could be raised by the team, and we promise the girls that if they go through they will get everything from the gate-takings, we then hear that nothing was realised from what came into our coffers on Sunday.
“Organisations that don’t do anything, in terms of preparing the team, are the first at the cashiers’ box to get money which they say they deserve and they don’t care whatsoever that the players, the stars that the fans came to watch, have nothing left to share.
“This is cruelty, it’s an insult to the players, an insult to football and I will not allow it to continue happening because there is no point in having the Warriors or the Mighty Warriors when they can’t even get a cent from their sweat and blood and you have vultures who are just waiting to get the money from our players’ efforts.
“It’s ridiculous and I’m fuming right now, you can write that, I’m fuming right now because this is wrong and someone must stand up for football and, as its leader in this country, I have to stand up and fight for our cake because the players look up to me to provide that leadership and I would have failed them if I don’t act accordingly.”
Chiyangwa said while the country wanted the Warriors and the Mighty Warriors to succeed, their mission should not be funded by ZIFA alone and, worse still, when they make some money from their home games, that money ends up in the pockets and bank accounts of people and organisations that had nothing to do with the teams while the players get nothing.
“For a long time we have had a system that is wrong and is unsustainable and that is why ZIFA is always in debt because even the little that we are supposed to get is taken by some organisations and people who have nothing to do with football and that is very, very wrong,” Chiyangwa said.
“Our players are heroes because they served their country very well in the two matches and surely one would have expected the Harare City Council and the Sports Commission to say that, this time around, let the girls get something.
“Football is about the players and the fans, the players attract the fans to the stadiums, and without them the stadiums will be empty shells and the time has come for football, and by this I mean the players and their coaches, to get what is due to them rather than this system where we are simply using them to make money for other people and organisations while they get nothing.”